Rain in forecast, but I’m thinking summer already.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Gym is Tokyo’s gayest place. Certainly in daylight and without booze, this non-digital location ranks as the busiest social space for an often “down low” sub-culture. The gym is even gayer, but the pool is noteworthy for its clerestory windows, natural light, and 50 meter length. It’s cleaner than ever after the renovation.
TMG, or Taiikukan, is directly across the street from JR Sendagaya station, and near Shinjuku, Yoyogi, and Omotesando.
I visited Wadabori outdoor pool during the last week of the season. It’s super old but beautiful, with two sides facing a large, forested temple. It’s also close to Zenpukuji river. Highly recommend it, except that visible tattoos and piercings are not allowed. Not cool!
I’m also confused by the other typical Tokyo pool rule that prohibits sun tan lotion. Ever heard of skin cancer? Apparently not, since the lifeguards are often the shade of burnt toast.
Almost in Chiba, Tatsumi swimming pool is my new shrine, demanding a cross-city pilgrimage. Since the Taiikukan in Sendagaya is closed for one year of renovations, I discovered this amazing facility. It has enormous windows facing a former lumber dock that now features decaying piers and flying fish. Not only is the main pool 50 meters, so is the so-called “sub-pool.” There’s a separate area for diving, including a 10 meter platform.
The clouds that day against the blue sky were spectacular. In the distance, at the end of the walkway, you can see Sky Tree to the north.
This post is especially for Kathryn, my #1 reader and blog commenter.
I was innocently on my way to the Taikukan (体育館）public pool– a place as infamous for gays as the summer-only Shiba Koen pool— when I noticed dozens and dozens of young women holding up sad hand-written signs and fans with the unmistakable images of Arashi. Yes, Arashi was performing at the nearby 1964 Olympic stadium, Kokuritsu.
Apparently these girls were praying that some scalper would come by and sell them some tickets. Or maybe they just wanted to hang out with other fangirls and compare photo fans?
ps: I know that these boy bands attract female fans, but what about this image screams hetero to you?! I am not seeing “non-gay,” are you? ^^
In the shadow of Tokyo Tower, Minato ward has opened their outdoor summer pool one minute from the Shibakoen Toei Mita station. Apparently sunblock is not permitted, so I won’t be there between 10 am and 4 pm. I made my first visit on Friday after work: a beautiful sunset over Tokyo Tower and the surrounding towers. As hyped by word-of-mouth, this outdoor pool is mega-gay.
The funniest moment was arriving at the clean and new facility. There were many, many posters explaining how tattoos are not permitted. I love the Western shoulder tattoo and the attempt at universal language, plus Japanese and English. Is it passive-aggressive to also explain how to hide your tattoos, with rash guards, “supporter,” taping, etc.
I didn’t get to visit, but I heard there’s a mezzanine area with lounge chairs, canvas sun shields, vending machines, and a smoking area! Way to promote fitness tied to tanning and smoking. Yumm! Apart from the very warm pool water, I recommend a visit. But after seeing all the minimal swimsuits, I think I may need to buy a smaller one!
BTW, this pool closes on September 15. Hours are 9 am to 8 pm, with a 5 pm closing time after September 1. They are also closed on August 2 for cleaning. I’ll post more night photos of the pool house exterior and Tokyo Tower soon.